I am currently the Senior Lecturer at at Birmingham City University on the Jewellery and Objects BA with honours course. As well as an External Examiner at Brighton University, for the BA with Honours Designer Maker course based at the Station Palza Campus in Hastings.
My recent teaching post as Course Leader for Postgraduate Courses in the School of Crafts and Design involved the co-ordination and management of the School’s taught postgraduate courses at Farnham, maintaining and developing recruitment, retention, curriculum and assessment. Responsibility for effective delivery of the schools’ MA programme and to undertake a significant teaching role and manage the input of specialist tutors. I was also a member of the Schools Management Team, an ex-officious member of the School Board of Study and an active member of the teaching and learning working group.
In 2009 I was appointed Senior Tutor for the undergraduate Glass, Ceramics, Jewellery, Metalwork course and the Jewellery and Metalwork Pathway Leader at the University for the Creative Arts in Farnham (UCA). This enabled me to teach and lecture at undergraduate and postgraduate levels, on continually developing courses, working & sharing knowledge with the Designers, Makers and Crafts Professionals of the future. As part of this role I timetable and programme level five student activities and develop, produce and present all of the handbooks and projects for that group.
Working on a multidiscipline course as the 0.6 course leader and the 0.4 senior tutor enabled me to develop my interest in materials, working closely with the students that have chosen ceramics, glass, jewellery, textiles, metalwork and product design as a specialist area. Introducing projects that encourage the cohort to consider combining materials in their final designs and expanding their knowledge of materials research and cross disciplinary activities. This cross over informs the students of their own practice and desires as well as encourages them to reflect and debate on a variety of issues, consider options and focus that not only makes them sustainable but enables them to choose a path that they will enjoy and embrace.
I was awarded Senior Fellowship recognition from the Higher Education Academy in 2016. The Higher Education Senior Fellowship Programme of study allowed me to consolidate internal and external activities, reflecting on them as a whole rather than individually, selecting a few examples to show overall reflection, developments and relationships between them. I am now on the reviewing panel at Birmingham City University for Fellowships as well as mentoring staff through the programme.
My continuous development in teaching and my specialist area of jewellery and metalwork highlights my dedication and enthusiasm for the crafts and the sharing of knowledge and information. This all feeds into teaching, working closely with students, academics and technicians developing a variety of teaching activities to make their experience enjoyable and effective. Working with the staff in various departments may be time consuming at first, but has developed a rich programme of activities that is not only sustainable for the University but allows staff with specific areas of knowledge to share information first hand efficiently and collaboratively in the long term.
“The importance for critical reflection of belonging to an emotionally sustaining peer learning community cannot be over stated.”
Brookfield, S D (1995), Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Lecturing, teaching and demonstrating also takes place regularly at a variety of levels from short courses, weekend and evening classes to ad hoc sessions. This helps to keep an understanding of the sort of experiences students are expecting at different levels and what can be achieved in short time spans to help students develop. Evening classes have been run regularly over a number of years and the advantage of the knowledge is outweighed by the time taken and the impact on other development activities. However, considering an alternative option allowed an unexpected opportunity to arise where postgraduate students wishing to not only undertake their own practice, but also teach short courses assisted with the courses and learnt from the experiences, helping their own learning and understanding develop. Eventually one student took over the running of the classes and welcomes new students to assist and learn how she did too. I found it is important to let go of some activities, but time to reflect allows the best possible outcome.
Even though Edgar Dales Cone of Experience has been adapted and associated a lot to learning and hasn’t been proven a combination of all of the activities listed do tend to help students remember and develop their own understanding.
Dale, E, (1970), Audiovisual Methods in Teaching. US: Holt, Rinehart & Winston
Continuous development through practice, research and learning is also ongoing. As well as running my own practice, I have undertaken various academic courses including a Post Graduate Course in Teaching in the Creative Arts for Higher Education at the University for the Creative Arts and Masters of Arts, Design by Project at Central Saint Martins, London. Throughout my career I have attended many short courses, symposiums, exhibitions and lectures for example Rhino software for educators, in 2015 and PhD Supervisor training at UCA and the Artworkers Guild and the Makers Now workshop and conference at Falmouth University in 2014. All of which inform my own teaching, whether it is for a specific practical workshop and tasks or for continuous creative thinking and development or informing teaching through watching and seeing how others teach and share information, how they present and how the order of activities are planned. I have also found the debates with other learners is not only informative too, but gives me a renewed energy and passion to develop and move forward. More recently I began a PhD in the School of Craft and Design, developing my passions and developing my own knowledge by focusing research on the transition period between jewellery education to jewellery practice.
“The most important attitude that can be formed is that of desire to go on learning.”
Dewey, J, (2015) Experience and Education, New York: Free Press
I actively contribute to the jewellery and craft professions throughout the UK. As a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Contemporary Jewellery (ACJ), I am able to network, debate and converse with some of the UK’s leading jewellers. The ACJ is devoted to the promotion, representation, understanding and development of contemporary jewellery. I have built up the Associations online profile by setting up and continually updating five Network pages as well as contributing regularly by writing articles for the Findings publication and ebulletin, this allows me to develop my personal networking skills and has given me opportunity to keep up to date with the economic environment and activities within my specialist areas, keep up with trends, information, news and activities, that feed directly into my own teaching with up to date information and knowledge to share with students. I found having a board that I have to attend allows this intervention into my practice to be regular otherwise it can easily fall away and be forgotten.
Dana Wright illustrates a before, during and after meeting experience, showing some of the experiences and skills acquired.
Write, D, (2013) We’ve Got to START Meeting Like This!: Creating inspiring meetings, conferences, and events. US: Take action inc.
I was also previously a member of the Board of Trustees for the New Ashgate Trust in Farnham. The New Ashgate Trust is a non-profit educational charity, which promotes contemporary visual arts and crafts to as wide a public as possible. This is achieved through a programme of changing exhibitions, projects with artists, makers, projects of support and development delivered by the trust with local, national and international partnerships and educational events. I regularly work with the Director of the New Ashgate Trust to set up an annual Rising Stars symposium and exhibition event, building on the success each year. Sharing activities outside the University broadens the students views and interests, allowing them first hand experience as well as getting support to develop their own practices.
“If you want to thrive, you need to systematically engage with other people, in part to be reminded that life is bigger than your immediate problems.”
Henry, T, (2013), The Accidental Creative USA: Portfolio Penguin
As a member of the executive committee for the Hand Engravers Association of Great Britain I contributed to the Associations aims, including running an all day event in 2015 called ‘Engraving for All’ with UK and international talks and all day workshop activities. The aim of the Association is to reignite an interest and understanding of this rich and diverse skill by raising the profile of hand engraving, education and training. Students have been able to take part and assist in running Association events such as Cut in Clerkenwell as well as learn how to hand engrave from some top hand engravers in Great Britain.
Both the New Ashgate Trust and the Hand Engravers Association connections have informed teaching activities, reflection on my own methods of teaching and allowed regular input into the curriculum such as providing live experiences for students.
Since 2015 I have been involved in the Craft Council Hothouse programme, firstly taking part in the interview process of applicants, advising during workshops and sessions for the hothouse participants as well as taking part in the 2016 and 2018 selection committee and Mentoring a participant in 2017, 2019 and 2020. The hothouse programme students included past UCA and BCU students and allowed me to discuss needs for practitioners with the Crafts Council team as well as work with the hothouse students with their development of networking and learning.
As a founder member of the Jewellers and Silversmiths Network I took the leading role in applying for and winning funding in 2010 to undertake an exchange and run a symposium. The Jewellers and Silversmiths Network (JSN) is a group run by its members for its members with the aim of getting to know other makers. As members the group is able to take advantage of or create opportunities that would not be available to them as individuals. The group regularly exchanges useful information and skills and exhibits as a group allowing people to appreciate and purchase their work. Regular monthly meetings have allowed me to note the variety of skills and interests practitioners want and need, what helps them to develop and how much they crave feedback, challenge and interaction in their design work, many of the members use the meetings as a group critique.
I also have good contacts with the Goldsmiths Centre, the Worshipful Company of Goldsmiths, Weston Beamor, British Art Medal Association, the Worshipful Company of Pewterers as well as other organisations that have contributed to competitions, commissioning and funding student activities across postgraduate and undergraduate courses. These organisations want to raise awareness of their services, but are also fully understanding of students needs to gain live experiences with companies and industries and assist through informative presentations, live competitions and work experiences.
“Our relationships will eventually grow stale unless we are diligent about directing and cultivating them.”
Henry, T, (2013), The Accidental Creative USA: Portfolio Penguin
As part of my course leader role I was part of the Teaching and Learning Working group that undertakes a variety of roles from developing the University’s staff and student teaching resources to developing and writing University policies and procedures. This enabled me to keep up to date as well as discuss developments with staff across the University.
“Reflective practice has its roots in the Enlightenment idea that we can stand outside of ourselves and come to a clearer understanding of what we do and who we are by freeing ourselves of distorted ways of reasoning and acting. There are also elements of constructivist phenomenology in here, in the understanding that identity and experience are culturally and personally sculpted rather than existing in some kind of objectively discoverable limbo.”
Brookfield, D (1995), Becoming a Critically Reflective Teacher San Francisco: Jossey-Bass
Collaborative partnerships and cross-disciplinary activities within the University are also undertaken, for example working closely with the Widening Participation team on Widening Participation Stars Workshops for disadvantaged children, teachers’ days, staff training and special events. This helps recruitment for the course, widens locals awareness of events within the University and encourages the younger generation to consider Arts and Crafts for their future careers.
I have been part of mentoring programmes for many years including mentoring PGC students, new members of staff and small businesses. As well as mentoring I support staff across the University by promoting symposiums, exhibitions and events externally as well as amongst the student and staff body. Attending the events myself where possible and presenting at the symposiums when asked. For example Ashley Howard ran the Material Symphysis Exhibition and symposium where I exhibited work, presented and the symposium and produced work for the catalogue, as well as organized some visits and activities for the Japanese guests.
Subjects presented at symposiums have included practical activities, business advice, crafts and materials focused, teaching and learning as well as being the opening speaker. The presentations that took place at the Teaching and Leaning conferences at the British Library lead to a teaching excellence award.
In March 2018 I set up and ran the Future Craft conference, winning research funding for the publication; Future Craft was the first in a series of biennial conferences that will offer an opportunity for discussion, engagement and debate across a broad continuum of craft. The ‘Entrepreneurship or Enterprise?’ conference celebrated the continual innovation of the jewellery and silversmithing industries, learning, development, business and variety of contexts and markets they inhabit. The next Future Craft Conference will take place in Australia in 2020.
External connections have included continuous collaboration with the Gemmological Institute, China University of Geosciences led to presenting at the Gemology Conference in Wuhan in October 2015 as well as visiting the Institute and delivering a two day workshop. Previous connection with the Institute in 2012 gave stage two students at UCA and in China a chance to collaborate, this culminated in a student exhibition at the Crafts Study Centre which then moved to China for a big celebration event for the 20 year anniversary of the Institute. In July 2016 the BA students from the University will visit UCA to discuss opportunities of a direct entry scheme into stage two of the course as well as consider the opportunity to progress onto the MA after their study in China.
In October 2018 I took part as curator for the UK selection of the Triple Parade Exhibition in Shanghai and presenting a paper on the past, present and future of the UK jewellery industry at the conference, including providing text and articles for the Catalogue. In May 2019 I presented at the Society of North American Goldsmiths Conference, the Loop, which was a celebration of their fiftieth anniversary, the presentation covered the changes in the UK jewellery field and showcased members work from the Association of Contemporary Jewellery.
In 2012, I took part in the Hotweek event at the Oslo National Academy of Arts, to assist in the development of my own work as well as set up connections and exchange programmes for the courses in Oslo and UCA. I not only took part in the workshop activities, but also did two presentations, one on UCA Farnham, its courses and facilities, distributing marketing material supplied by the exchange office.
Experience as a tutor have also included sitting on internal and external validation and review panels for new and developing courses, this has allowed me to feedback to the course teams with personal experiences and knowledge, as well as use the information and experience to inform the development of the Postgraduate programmes within the School of Craft and Design. Development takes place through academic annual monitoring of the programme, reviews of the course as well as continuous development of the handbooks, timetabled programme and delivery.
I have developed a lot over the last few years, taking part in a large variety of activities, as well as working in teams and alone to set up events and knowledge sharing opportunities. My practice and teaching overlap as my knowledge and enthusiasm grows. Careful planning of time and focus on specific activities at any one time has been essential. It is important to leave some activities behind, while making others become sustainable and less time consuming to allow for this speed of development to continue. All of the experience so far informs my rich knowledge and open mindfulness, that I hope to continue to share with students, staff and makers.
“Emptying yourself of your best work isn’t just about checking off tasks on your to-do list; it’s about making steady, critical progress each day on the projects that matter, in all areas of life.”
Henry, T, (2015), Die Empty : Unleash Your Best Work Every Day, USA: Penguin Putnam Inc